Monday, March 3, 2014

Killer Monday: "The Killer Storytelling Writing Contest"

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Monday, March 3, 2014
  • __2__ Gratitudes (Sunday naps and family pictures) Grumble (also family pictures--gah! They act like they're going to die for asking them to freaking smile!)
  • _2__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (could've used more...)
  • __0 hrs_ Spent Writing (writing words? what's that?)
  • _1__ Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (Macayos-Style TCT--toasted cheese tortilla. It's nothing fancy, but it's the way it's prepared and the Macayos Smooth Sauce that it's served with which makes it a "delight." It's a Vegas thing.)
Back in high school, good ol' Chaparral--Home of the Cowboys, I had an English teacher named Mrs. Naegle. She was one of those teachers that you never forget. Until her, I kind of thought writing was a special brand of torture. Mrs. Naegle gave us an assignment to creatively write one page about ourselves. I majorly stressed out about it until I came up with the idea to use an analogy! A "literary tool" that she had taught me. Genius, right? ;) I compared myself to the dream car I had always wanted--a red, soft-top Jeep Wrangler. Using descriptions about the car to describe my free spirit and frequent recklessness or some crap. (I wish I still had the one page). Anyway, there wasn't any contest per se for this one-page assignment, but regardless, she chose one student's page to highlight in front of the class. AND IT WAS MINE! I'll always remember how special she made me feel that day. Mrs. Naegle's recognition made a difference in my life.

So I've teamed up with Downtown Projects to create a local School District writing contest in concert with my book launch in May. This is generally what it's going to look like:

  • The contest is designed to encourage 9th through 12th grade students to write the first page of a killer story.  
  • The primary objective is to motivate students to write, revise, and revise some more. Because this is a one-page/250 words maximum contest, it is important for the students to spend more time and effort on developing voice, style, and a hook that will make readers want more. 

Contest Rules

  • The theme of this contest is “Killer Storytelling.” The nature of this general theme will allow students to use their imaginations and write the first page of whatever they deem to be an awesomely “killer” story. 
  • Students must submit their one-page/250 words max via email in an attached Word document (not in the body of the email) by April 15 (ish). 


  • TBD but generally there will probably laptops, Kindles, gift cards, etc. Oh and ice cream! Definitely ice cream. 
  • Free printing of their finished story via the Espresso Book Machine in the lobby of the Inspire News Cafe. Very cool.
  • Fame, fortune, etc.

2014 Timeline

  • Emails/information is sent to English teachers throughout the District in March
  • Myself and a team of excited youth do school visits to spread the word on the contest
  • Announce Top Finalists (and prize giveaway for all contestants) at the Killing Ruby Rose Book Launch Party Friday night at The Container Park Downtown Vegas.
  • Top Finalists gain entry into the Saturday night event at the brand-new, state-of-the-art Inspire Theater for an awards ceremony and a night of music provided by writer/musicians (working on a stellar cast).

Killer idea, right? 

Jessie With A Shot At The Night


  1. You are a killer idea machine! Seriously, girl, you constantly amaze me.

  2. I love that you are having a writing contest for the school district. Best. Idea. Ever. Things like that can change their lives.

  3. That's really wonderful and admirable. I love this!

  4. I wanna be a Vegas high schooler! Your book launch is going to go down in history as the most killer launch of allll time!

  5. What a great idea. As an ex-high school English teacher, I can really appreciate anything that will get kids writing. Killer indeed!

  6. Fantastic idea, Jessie! I hope you get a great response. Have to say, you are the queen of marketing. Best of luck with all the plans.

  7. That is a killer idea! WOW! I love it! You are amazing! I'm gonna throw some more exclamation points at your coolness!!!!!!!!

  8. I think it's great that you're encouraging teenagers to write; you're following your teacher's example! I still remember my high school English teachers; they're partly why I became an English teacher too. And like you, I wish I'd kept the fiction writing that I did when I was younger.